Well, with September 21st over with, it’s now the true beginning of autumn! Start the season off right with some theatre. Here’s our list of the shows playing in Toronto this week. Anything in red with two asterisks before it comes highly recommended by our Editor, Mike.
By Samantha Wu
Aromas is a candid look at professional sex work, on stage at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre
Confession — sex work fascinates me. Having befriended strong and proud individuals from professional dominatrixes to professional girlfriends (or ‘companions’ as many prefer to be called), I feel I have a pretty strong understanding of what the industry entails. So when the opportunity to see Aromas, playing at the Red Sandcastle Theatre, arose, I was instantly intrigued.
The performance is a one-woman show — a first-person account of a skating ballerina turned professional escort and the wondrous encounters with fascinating and colourful individuals from her rich and vibrant past. What the audience is left with is an empowering and revealing story that speaks on many levels, with nuggets of intriguing wisdom like how “the Kama Sutra is a book of prayers”.
Toronto’s Hart House Theatre tackles Oscar Wilde’s comedy of manners The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde’s best-known comedy of manners — “a serious comedy for trivial people”, or is it the other way ’round? — roasts Victorian manners and stuffiness, with a series of twists and convolutions which will tickle even a post-Seinfeld audience. Several of the roles are veritable gifts to actors, and while some of the language has begun to creak, many of Wilde’s observations have become even more trenchant over time. Earnest is exactly the kind of show that Hart House does extremely well, but while the text still sparkles and gleams, I found this production to be more mixed.
By Devon Potter
Toronto’s UC Follies adapts Büchner’s unfinished classic play Woyzeck to highlight mental health issues
On Friday night, I made my way through a tiny door into a quiet quadrangle behind the University College building at U of T. There, the student-driven UC Follies Theatre Company performed an adaptation of Woyzeck for a very chilly but attentive audience. While the show itself raises some interesting issues and has been adapted multiple times worldwide, I felt that this particular production didn’t quite hit the mark it was aiming for. Read the rest of this entry »
Opera 5 brings two rarely performed operettas, L’île du rêve and Le Ba-ta-clan, to the Toronto stage
When a production is advertised as “rarely performed,” I can’t help but be curious. I have a passion for unusual plays, operas, and dances that rarely, if ever, sees the contemporary stage in Canada, so Opera 5’s double bill of Reynaldo Hahn’s L’île du rêve and Jacques Offenbach’s Le Ba-ta-clan, immediately got my attention.
These productions, performed back to back over the course of an evening, suggest some interesting questions regarding how and why smaller companies like Opera 5 choose their seasons. There is always a risk associated with the less-familiar productions where failure can be dramatically highlighted and where success still begs the question of whether specific works should ever make it to a contemporary stage.
By Ashima Suri
Toronto playwright Kat Sandler spoofs reality shows in her latest play Retreat at the Storefront Theatre
Watch out Toronto, there is a new hilarious show in town that will knock the socks right of your feet! Retreat is no ordinary play. It is one-hour and forty-five minutes of time spent well! The talented playwright Kat Sandler gives us all something to think about in her well-written, smart, fun and engaging new play now playing at The Storefront Theatre.
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By George Perry
Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents Lois Fine’s play Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week
If I told you that Judith Thompson was directing a play written by queer activist Lois Fine and it was being staged at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, you’d likely think I just woke up from a wet dream. Either that or I was trying to explain a Beatles song. But no, it’s reality, and it is a play currently on stage in Toronto. Oh yeah, it’s called Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week.
Freda and Jem are two lesbians who hit it off at a meat market, shack up, and decide to have children. Jem (Kathryn Haggis) is a butch plumber turning wrenches while Freda (Diane Flacks) is a grad student turning pages.
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By Sam Mooney
Our Country’s Good, On Stage For The First Time In 25 Years
This is the 25th anniversary production of Our Country’s Good, playing at the Royal Alex, and directed by Max Stafford-Clark who directed the original production in London. It has aged well, it’s a play that will no doubt be successfully produced in another 25 years, and 25 years after that. Read the rest of this entry »
September is well under way, and work is probably getting a little crazy for all of us. Thinking of rebelling against the system and living off-grid in the forest somewhere? The protagonists of the shows in this week’s Cheap Theatre don’t exactly do that, but they do butt heads with the powers-that-be in their societies, with varying results. And hey – you’re sticking it to the man (a little bit) by paying so little for so much theatre!
An excited crowd of Mirvish subscribers and media gathered this morning at the Royal Alexandra Theatre to witness the reveal of Mirvish Productions’ 2014/2015 Season. With a few known entities, a few special events and a few mystery musicals to be revealed, nobody knew exactly what they were in store for when Elvis Stojko walked out onto the stage to share the full roster of shows Mirvish will be bringing to Toronto over the next year.